Blog

Published 5/1/2020 – In a pay-by-scan world, managing inventory and markdowns can be a challenge. With our mobility app you can enable your field teams to utilize barcode scanning, but how can you track when particularly large markdowns are being taken?  The answer is through Setting and Managing Notifications.  In particular you would want to utilize Notification 21 – Perpetual Count Adjustment.  Shown below you can customize which changes you get alerted to based on retailer, you can choose to limit alerts to certain items or groups of items. You can limit the stores you want to monitor, or only be alerted based on certain markdown types and the amount in dollars or units!  Notifications are flexible – you can set as many as you like with different settings for each to achieve total monitoring without "drinking from a fire hose" with alerts coming in by the dozen or hundred each day.  



Published 4/20/2020 – We're excited to announce that web reporting now enables you to save the state of the output between report runs.  As most users are aware, parameters chosen for the report prior to running are saved to all you to quickly re-run the report, however you would need to re-sort or filter results each time.  No longer!  Now you can customize the column order and visibility (to hide columns you may not care about).  You can sort on a particular column, filter on any number of columns (right click on the column header) in combination, then just press the "Save Columns" button.  If you refresh the report, all the prior filters and sorting should be re-applied automatically!  What's even better is this works for Webquery reports so you can share reports with pre-filtered data quickly and easily.  Want to change the settings later - simply re-sort or filter to the new configuration and click the "Save Columns" button again.  We hope this helps you better share data and save time with your teams and others!



If you're a pay-by-scan vendor responsible for maintaining your own inventory, you've probably run across the case where a field person incorrectly enters an erroneous count in their mobile app.  Whether they meant to change the count from 50 to 40 and accidentally hit 400, or whether they forgot to put a negative (minus) sign in front of the count to signal a relative decrease, the result is your inventory can change by a lot very quickly!  Luckily monitoring for these things is easy and making corrections is just as easy.


Monitoring

Getting alerted to large inventory changes is simple - just go into your Notifications in the main website and find the Perpetual Count Adjustment Notification.  The options will look like below.  You can customize which stores to monitor, which items (or all items) and set thresholds by units or cost$ values.  Choose whether to receive email notifications, mobile app notifications or both!  As you do this, you'll get notified of large changes that might warrant follow-up and correction.



Correcting Errors

To correct any errors, simply run Merchandiser Markdowns History (88) report for the time period / store involved, find the erroneous count and double click on the "Adjusted OH" value.  A popup will show up allowing you to correct the issue right away.  The counts get automatically adjusted and you're done!


Call 2020 the year of the integration - we've implemented the ability to extend integration beyond EDI with Wal-Mart's AS2 reporting integration.  What is this?  Put simply its the ability to have any report from RetailLink sent to us and we can integrate the data directly into your account.  EDI data is good, but as many people know sometimes the data in Retail Link changes "after the fact" - which is weird, by the way, but it happens.  The only way to solve this is to integrate using RetailLink and their AS2 report delivery!  By doing so you can overcome data changes, ensure accuracy and augment or replace the EDI data if needed, very simply.  Our systems are ready to accept reports - integration typically takes 1-2 weeks!  Oh, and there is no extra charge for up to 3 integrated reports!

With the news in late 2019 of the rollout of THD's supplier analytics platform we began working on a direct integration for our customers to allow them to transition away from the Home Depot EDI852 ahead of its retirement in Spring 2020.  There were many technical issues we wanted to simplify for our customers - ultimately to get it to a managed service point allowing them to be completely buffered from the internal changes to ensure a seamless transition.  Fast forward to 2020 in March and we completed the transition for all customers - allowing customers to now get daily granularity of data (if they were not doing so before) visibility, to capture accurate retail prices - integrated with their costing data in a seamless way, fuse THD attributes and classifications with customer items into their own to allow customers to view data through either lens easily, create the ability to store on-hand data on a daily basis with not expiration (as opposed to the THD limit of 60 days) and so much more.

To put it simply - our integration has been a huge hit with customers.  They're now able to integrate the best of all words in one place and have it right along side all their other retail data.  What is more - we're able to do this at no additional cost to our clients!


If you're reading this and finding the Askuity isn't what you expected and are looking for a true mature retail platform - we're here to help, the integration is proven and easy and you can get historical data, item attributes and more integrated and up and running in less than one week!  Contact sales@avantalytics.com today to learn about our Spring promotions relating to this integration.

Hello, we've come through winter and into a pandemic, but that hasn't stopped us from continuing to innovate around retail analytics at amazing rate.   Over the next 30 days we'll begin to update our users on the new features that have been in development with key client partners and early adopters as they become ready for general adoption.  Our first is a small, but helpful one - the integration of UPC 128A barcode generation.  Put simply we've integrated the ability to get the barcode (for scanning purposes) wherever you find a UPC in our service currently.  The genesis of this came from the increasing use of barcode scanning in-stores and at customer locations for inventory tracking and more.  Often times either we or our customers were found without a barcode to use and so we figured - lets integrate a generator to turn any 12 digit UPC into a barcode!  Below is a sneak peak at a couple reports where its available and the output. Expect to see this in many more places!


Simply clicking on the web report link for the UPC opens a new window with the ability to then scan using the mobile app barcode scanner right on your computer screen!


Published - 1/1/2020

We're happy to announce a major upgrade to the mobile app for iPhone and Android with expanded capabilities for data sharing and integration of custom features.  Below is a short list of added features.

Shared Interactive Views

One of the most awaited updates provides users the ability to fully leverage the views they make in the main application by allowing them to view these on their mobile app, but now users can interact with the links to make the views fully interactive.  Furthermore through use of custom user group functionality in the system, a user can create a view and "share" it with any number of users via user groups enabling users who may not have time, access or technical know-how the ability to view data you create for them.  Below are screenshots of this capability:


User Region and Localized Store Auto-Drill For Views

An extension upon the feature above can be seen in the bottom of the first screenshot above - each view has the ability to allow the user to reduce the applicable stores underlying the data in each view down to either their current store listing or, when localized, to the current store their standing in.  The benefit of this is that it allows each user to leverage other's shared views while making sure the data being viewed is relevant to their stores or the store they happen to be in at any given moment!


Phantom Inventory Integration

Phantom inventory metrics have been a staple in the main application, but we've recently pushed this data into the "Inventory" section of the mobile app to make it easy for users to see what items likely are experiencing problems with on-hand counts and lack of sales. When in the inventory section, you can tap on the ellipsis to bring up a sorting preference and quickly sort items according to their phantom inventory impact.  The items with phantom inventory issues are highlighted purple to bring them to your attention quickly.



CC Cart Inventory Collection

An often requested feature for customers in the live goods vertical is to provide a way to count and coallesce data on where empty plant racks are ready for pickup and return to the warehouse.  The application now allows the user to select either the common CC Rack or their own Internal racks to differentiate, as well as to inventory down to the post/rack/shelf base level.  Photos and notes can be provided to aid trucks deployed to retrieve the racks in finding them quickly.  The results can be viewed in our standard report interface in realtime.

Shipment Arrival Information

Building on the shipment data our customers provide - we're allowing for delivery windows to be entered and displayed for the incoming shipments at each store.  If the customer can provide shipping windows, the time period will display in the view below along with the shipping date.


These are just a few of the  feature updates available in version 3.0.  Other honorable mentions include data queuing to handle poor reception, allowing the user to continue to perform most tasks in spite of poor reception.  Upgraded in-app messaging is also available and much more.



Published 7/17/2019 — If you're job is to manage dozens or hundreds of field personnel for merchandising you've probably been accustomed to messaging people via text, via email and realized that keeping things organized can be a real pain.  We know this and we're proud to announce that we've implemented field team messaging that leverages the systems Manage User Groups capability to provide a way to message groups of people easily - through text message (SMS) or through the mobile app directly.   The elegance of this is that you can organize and reach folks on their mobile device via multiple methods.  The mobile app allows for images to be sent as well. All correspondence is saved so you have a central record of it later as well.

If you're using SMS text messaging then user text message fees do apply, but if your users are all mobile application users they can get your messages inside the app while avoiding the telecom charges!



Published 7/5/2019 – We're pleased to roll out our monthly insight panel update with an entirely new insight panel.  The Item Group Comparisons panel is an easy to use panel, especially if you're comfortable with the Custom Regions Overview insight panel.  This panel is simple and is designed to allow you to quickly and easily compare sales performance among a number of different custom item groups.  The beauty of custom item groups is that you can make any number of them and include only the items you care about and are not hampered by any categorization hierarchy you might otherwise use.  While the options are nearly limitless, we expect common use cases for this will typically include grouping items into custom groups based on price points to view how price tiers are performing in the marketplace.


Published 6/11/19 – In perishable product categories such as live goods and groceries it is imperative to monitor your markdowns due to damage, expiration and more.  In Avantalytics this data is powered by our field service management and Avantalytics Mobility - our native app.  Through this service your field people can use their mobile devices to log markdowns and the data is stored in the overall system.  But monitoring your markdowns globally can still be a chore - until now.  This month we're announcing a new insight panel named Markdown Trend which is a simple but interactive graph style insight designed to allow you to monitor and quantify your markdowns over time.  An example shown below gives a simple 4 week trend of total markdowns.  The panel is interactive so clicking on any of the columns will take you to the Merchandiser Markdowns History (88) report for the given time period so you can easily drill into the details of the data - including time, place, total amount, and even photographic proof.

Published 5/23/19 – After seeing the latest Home Depot and Lowe's earnings for Q1 2019 and the fact that both cited the "Wettest February in over 20yrs" as an impact on their results, we decided to upgrade our Days of Rain Insight to allow you to compare the number of days of rain in the period of your choice to the comparable period the year prior.  The results for our real world test are below and show the the West experienced most of the rainfall difference, with some impact in the Carolinas.  If you're a weather analytics subscriber this panel and functionality are now available to you as well - you're seconds away from Springtime comparative analysis!


To learn more about what this insight panel can do - click on the link below:

Days of Rain Insight Panel Overview

Published 5/4/19 – With one of the largest Spring holidays over for Outdoors DIY its a good time to start taking a look at your inventory.  One key metric to look at is Weeks of Supply (WOS) - which gives you a good metric to look at how long your inventory will last, but when used at an aggregated level its best to do some group analysis.  To help in this - we've added a Store Sales Vs. Weeks of Supplyinsight.  The insight panel allows you to select custom item groups, stores and all the other parameters you're used to using with other insight panels.  Its intent is to give you a quick look at hundreds of stores to see where your outliers from a WOS standpoint so you can begin to address looming inventory issues.  The insight allows you to view as a ScatterPlot graph - helpful for spotting outliers, but it also allows you to switch to tabular view easily by choosing the gear option.

The Scatterplot allows you to click/drag to select multiple stores (points) and create custom regions directly from the insight panel!   When it comes to using this panel we suggest your create item groups consisting of "Core" items in your program and segment off any non-core items, then use these groups to evaluate your WOS for each.  Because the core items will likely sell better and more steadily, its helpful to view their WOS apart from potentially slower selling items.  Try it out today!

Published 3/19/19 --

While Spring may be very elusive so far this Spring, we decided to deliver the arrival of the April Insight update early to make up for it.  This one couldn't be more timely either.  If you're familiar with the Weekly Retail Sales Trend panel or Region Weekly Sales Trend panels and are lucky enough to be loading daily sales and inventory data, you've probably wondered how to get daily granularity information to match.  That's where the Daily Retail Sales Trend panel comes in.  It loses the multi-retailer capability, but gains in highly granular views of daily sales data and adds the custom region capability for drilling in on specific areas as needed.  Below are a couple screenshots of the result.  

If you're in a highly seasonal business anxiously awaiting Spring - this panel will allow you to monitor the daily progress to ensure you're on top of your game when Spring finally breaks out.




Published 3/1/19 --

In our March monthly insight panel update we put a little twist on the monthly update pledge.  Instead of featuring a new insight panel, we've added a helpful feature as an enhancement to a number of insights - the ability to right-click for a context sensitive menu giving you the option to immediately run a number of relevant reports.  In our on-going quest to make data as easy as possible to explore - this extends the standard link drill-through to a whole host of options.  Below are a couple of insight panels with examples of reports.  Clicking on a report automatically takes the parameters from the insight panel and applies it to the given report - so things like time periods, categories, geographies and more are automatic. 


Efficiency Enhanced

With this new feature, we've effectively eliminated two clicks to enter the reporting library, plus the inevitable searching through the library to find the report you want (see below).  Then we've saved at least another minute in choosing options for the report before finally running the report.  This all without considering that by copying the options from the panel to the report saves in errors and omissions on filtering choices.  All-in this enhancement saves time and increases usability and utility of dozens of insight panels!


Published 2/16/19 — Our latest monthly addition to our insight panel library brings a new addition to the Weather Analytics service component.  The insight panel is "Temperature Trend" and is designed to make it super easy for you to visualize temperature data in a given region over time.  The benefit of this is that you can also see metrics about the changes.  Because temperature changes are random in the short term, looking at differences year-on-year is difficult to draw longer term conclusions from.  However, this insight allows you to not only view temperature data differences on a daily basis, but also provides cumulative metrics such as "Net Days Warmer" or "Cumulative Days Warmer" or "Consecutive Days  Warmer" to bring out on-going trends in the short term and over the life of the time period you select. 


In the panel above we've elected to show the current vs. prior year temperatures for the area around Atlanta, GA.  As you can see with the daily temperatures - its hard to know what's going on, but by including the metric "Net Days Warmer" - you can see there was a distinct warming period from the beginning through the middle of January as the net days slope moved upward.  However, on / about  1/20 - the temps began to reverse steadily indicating a colder period through the end of the month.  It is these cycles that are important to visualize as they can be compared directly to your sales performance to show the effect of cooling and warming periods on sales of your items.